Thursday, June 23, 2011

The way to Kazan, reflecting on Piter

Thats me now

So once again I'm on a train. Finally on our way out of St. Petersburg after an unexpected delay due to waiting for my bank card to arrive from Vienna.

It doesn't seem like it's been that long but my calendar says it's been three weeks. The last day of our stay in Piter was the best. It was our first official night at a hostel at an attempt to se the city the way it should be seen (as you might have already read in my 3am buzzed last entry). But to summarize the last week here, I can complain and admire a few things. Since I'm Marina, I'll complain first. That might sound like a bad thing, but it's only so that you are left with the good things in memory when you've finished reading.

One thing I hate is that when I come up to a desk of some sort; whether it be an info, register, our sales desk; and ask a question, they tell me to read the long ass sign on their window. I can't read damn russian, and if I did, why would I stabs around reading for an hour til I finally got to the answer? When I can just ask, and you can just answer, since you MUST know the answer after working that for a hundred years - judging by that nasty mug of yours.

Specifically annoying of these is the ticket sales window at the train station. The line seems to have no shape but rather a bunch, with people cutting in and out, saving spots in three windows, and generally being strange. So in this chaos you end up waiting about 30 minutes until you finally get to the window, when suddenly she shuts off the lights and says she's decided to go on break. So you jump immediately to the next line, wait another 20 minutes, and then THAT ONE goes on break too!! And then the third woman says,i think shes sick, I should go help her, shuts her window down, and makes her way out...


And this is supposed to be Europe?
Well the russians complain but more to each other and amongst themselves than to someone who could actually change something. The fact of the matter is, there is no one who could make it different, or who could appologize for the bad service, or who would even feel accountable.

The next complaint is about the richie riches over here. What's the deal? Why you gotta be so damn stuck up. And why your man like 30 years older? Well everyone has a path in life to follow, and I guess some chose different paths based on different goals.

BIGGEST regret of the trip award goes tooooooo..... this story:

Once a year, there is a huge festival in St Petersburg called Aliyeh Parusah, which means Red Sails... It is meant for all students graduating, but gives reason for huge partying in the city, marked with fire works, drinking, music, and a huge ship with lipstick red sails which sails into the horizon.
What did we do that night???..

Persuaded by others, we were convinced to go to an "outrageous" party on the beach by some world renound DJ from london, with massive crowds and ridiculous partying. What really happened? A tiny shaq on some beach, with a hammock!, and about 5 people dancing. One drink later we went home. BOOOOO!!!!

enough with the complaints and on with the good stuff...

A funny note is how early and often people have their beers here... even strolling through the park with a baby carriage, at 10 am, a man will have drink in hand :D

I LOOOOOOVVEEEE the white nights... you never want to go to bed because its always so light outttt!! I wish it wasnt Russia so I could at least consider living here!!

This is 11 pm... the sun doesnt set til about 1 or 2 am!!

Well one of the fascinating stories I have about Piter is the cathedral Spas Na Kravy, which means the Savior On Spilled Blood. It was built on the spot where Tsar Nicholus
The first was shot and fatally wounded by a few men who were considered terrorists against his reforms of ending slavery. Before this, nobles and land owners were also owners of the people who worked on their lands. So they could be traded, given as gifts, killed, mated and so on. Nicholus I made a reform that any Christian man can be free, and can work to buy himself out from his master. In actuality no one knew how to accomplish this freedom because a price was never set by law, and neither was any procedure of how to obtain this freedom. Although room was made to put forth and erect this church in his honor, this Tsar, as most tsars, is not thought of with respect or admiration.

Savior on Spilled Blood day and night views

We took a really wonderful trip through the canals on a teplahod. The swim was on a warm sunny day and three canals opened up to awe inspiring views of ask the beautiful architecture. That is something special aboutSt. Petersburg. The color of the buildings is astonishingly un communistic. Although truth be told the restorations of the facades, including the pastel colorings and greek like statues were only began recently and after the fall of the Soviet Union. There is quite a lot that went to ruins due to the neglect and disinterest that occurred during the 70 some years that communism reighned.

Thats us on the ferry tour boat, with once again the Hermitage behind us, on the Neva river

Another great day was the visit to the Petrodvorets in Petrograd. A lot of Petro's, I know, but Peter the Great is the only exception to what I wrote earlier about the tsars, and how most of them have no admiration attached to them. In fact Peter the Great was the only tsar in his lineage to die naturally (of some disease), all others were murdered for their reforms. Anyways, this city is a granduer of fountains and parks. After Peter's architects were sent to europe to discover styles for the Tsar, they returned with their renditions of places such as Versaille and other palaces. And in true Russian style, Peter said, ooh I like that, now make it 2 times bigger!!

So this is now a magically mischievous playground, with secret joke fountains and majestic ones that are more profound than funny.

Getting hit by a surprise fountain

All in all, it is for sure a beautiful city, still recovering from wars and bad management. Whats most interesting to me is that you learn more from the people you encounter on trains, for example, than you do on tours or in our books.

People are audibley dissatisfied and fed up with their government. Nothing is working right, no one is responsible for anything, monopolies make it hard for cheap prices, corruption makes it hard to get ahead. In fact, one has told me that it is very hard for a company if they succed into their third year. At that point people start to notice you and ask of course you to pay from your successes to the pockets of officials who do nothing but patrol success and steal from it. Thus, most companies open, and close on their second year and open again under a different name. This is why even designers cannot have their own label and sell internationally. Because it because far too expensive to pay off whoever it is you need to pay off. And the line of people waiting to bank in on your success is far too long.

Now that that is in the past, I can enjoy the ride in my coupe. The first and last time I will enjoy one on this trip. Afterwards, it will be once more platzcard seating.

I can focus on the journey, writing this blog, and looking out my romantic window in the pauses between the talks with the two others who share our cabin.

The windows in your cabin on the train don't open, so you have to go out into the hall. And once you do, you can pry open a little crack, just wide enough to stick your curious nose out while the frame blocks your eyes from the view. And then mmmm how the wind smells of wild grass which had never known the shreek of a grass cutter, nor felt the thumping pressure of man's footsteps. It smells of fresh dew, wild flowers, wildreness and freedom.

Also really cool is that we got to see Sting rehearse for his concert that night. So we got a free concert and close up look. Video at bottom

Here is the picture part ...

The Hermitage

inside the Hermitage

A park with miniature St Petersburg

No we"re not crazy in love, just kissing on The Bridge for Kissing

A mobile nuclear rocket at the military museum

From inside Peter and Paul Fortress.. where St Petersburg was formedWalking around


Yev said...

Seems like valid complaints... Russia is great at providing those :)

Sounds like "Piter" (which I first read as "p-I-ter") is very nice - and definetley great pictures! (I like the one with the soldiers, where the guy in the front is looking like he wants to kill you and take the camera)

I also wouldnt recommend touching the squirrels - they might be kgb

Love you guys, and enjoy the next leg of your trip!

Marina said...

Haha well seeing as how he got up on his hind legs and walked over to emirs hand, I'm pretty sure he is haha

Vroni said...

Scheinbar liegt es nicht an Wien - du schaffst es immer wieder in ganz besonders "nette" Situationen zu gelangen ;-)
... schlecht für dich, aber es es macht sehr viel Spaß zu lesen!

sind jetzt nach einer Woche Italien zurück gekommen und habe entdeckt dass ich schon bald die ersten Tomaten von euch ernten kann :-)

viel Spaß euch weiterhin!

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